Before he was an auteur and author, Quentin Tarantino was just a guy trying to break into Hollywood. He passed a few scripts around to get people's attention. One of them was Natural Born Killers.
It was the story of a couple that was young, in love, and on a murdering spree. The script was sold to Warner Bros., who eventually brought Oliver Stone on to direct. But the movie Stone made is still one Tarantino has never seen all the way through.
Tarantino has been doing the rounds and was on "The Moment" podcast with writer Brian Koppelman. He recounted this to Koppelman who agreed that he also was not a fan of Stone's treatment of Tarantino's screenplay.
Take a listen here.
When asked if he had seen the whole thing, Tarantino said, “No, not at all. Not that I’ve seen it all from beginning to end."
Koppelman said he “walked out” because he was “so insulted that this genius, I love his movies, Oliver Stone, so fundamentally misread why your script that I had read two years before mattered so much.”
Tarantino had particular bones to pick with the script.
“One of the things about that script, in particular, was that I was trying to make it on the page. So when you read it, you saw the movie. And it’s like why didn’t [Oliver Stone] do at least half of that! It was done for him!” Tarantino said.
'Natural Born Killers'Credit: Ronald Grant ArchiveHe continued that when the characters in the movie cheat on one another it would “never!” happen. Tarantino claims Stone missed the point.
“The point of the thing is that they unnaturally live for each other at the expense of everyone else on the planet earth,” Tarantino said.
Koppelman said their “killing spree is the sacrament of their love,” and Tarantino followed up with, “Absolutely.”
For what it's worth, Stone said in a 2019 interview with IndieWire: “[Quentin Tarantino] wrote the original script, and we bought it. It was all done legally. A lot of money was paid. His opinion, yeah he didn’t care for it, but I don’t know if he ever saw it. He went around and said that and I don’t think it was the right thing to do. But that was one of my many problems. We did well in spite of it all.”
It can be so hard to see your imagination come to life on the page and not translate just like you want on the screen. It doesn't seem like Tarantino will ever go back to this story, but it would be interesting for him to buy it back and make it as his tenth movie. Although I prefer where he is now to where he started out in his career.
Let us know what you think in the comments.